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Author Topic: Movies to Comics  (Read 5737 times)
Khaldun
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on: September 14, 2012, 06:30:57 AM

Amid all the pointless rebooting, I am seeing something happen more and more with comics, even Dark Horse's comics. The big publishers have been trying to see their characters as valuable intellectual property for the development of film franchises for a while. Marvel has hit its stride and achieved a lot of success. DC much less so.

But it used to be, for the most part, that a relatively successful film adaptation had at best a small impact on the comic-book version. The Burton Batman films, for example, had almost no impact on published versions of Batman--DC made a big noise about how Gotham would look in the comics more like the films, architecturally speaking, but that was it. The Joker wasn't rebooted as the shooter of Batman's parents, the Penguin wasn't rebooted as a flippered mutant. The Christopher Reeve Superman films also had very little impact. Even the extremely successful WB cartoon series didn't really affect the comics (it was ages before a comic featuring Batman Beyond appeared), except for the consistently excellent comic that DC published that was based on the series.

This seems wise to me--it lets the comics continue to be a test bed for new stories, new versions or interpretations of the characters, something to turn to when the current franchise loses steam. It's pretty clear at this point that the next film version of Batman will NOT be Nolan's, for example.

But that's not the way Marvel and DC are seeing things--increasingly they are ripping up a lot of the established versions of characters and stories and replacing them with versions that are closer to or direct modellings of their cinematic versions. Given that some of those versions are interpretations or mashups of older comic stories (TDKR = Knightfall + DKR + No Man's Land) this is sometimes creating a sort of recursive black hole where the whole thing turns in on itself and starts to collapse into a creative event horizon. A good example of this is how the Marvel is trying to reboot the X-Men now as something more like "First Class" (while taking the baroque, soap-operatic, zillions of characters X-Men of the 'present day' and mashing them into the Avengers, since the Avengers are more popular).
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Reply #1 on: September 15, 2012, 01:46:59 AM

Even the extremely successful WB cartoon series didn't really affect the comics (it was ages before a comic featuring Batman Beyond appeared), except for the consistently excellent comic that DC published that was based on the series.

Actually, that's not true. The character Harlequin was created specifically for the animated series and was only brought into the comics later. The version of Mr. Freeze, specifically the armor that they put on him in the animated series made it back to the comic later and was something of the inspiration for the godawful Mr. Freeze in the 4th Batman film.

Khaldun
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Reply #2 on: September 15, 2012, 09:52:53 PM

That's a good point on Harley, though it took a really long time before she appeared in the "official". The Victor Fries version of Mr. Freeze only sporadically became "official" in the continuity--and then they just totally fucked it up in a nu52 slight reboot. (In this version, Fries is just a stalker with an obsession over a frozen woman who never knew him--removing all the pathos from the character in order to make him more 'villainous'.)

Tannhauser
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Reply #3 on: September 16, 2012, 10:38:52 AM

Wait, Avengers is more popular than the X-Men?  Since the movie or before this summer?
Khaldun
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Reply #4 on: September 16, 2012, 07:10:22 PM

Actually, even before the movie, the Avengers titles had overtaken the X-Men, though any individual title match-up might not work out that way. (Say, Avengers Academy vs. Uncanny X-Men, etc.). Don't know the sales figures exactly but it's been growing slowly. Wouldn't have ever guessed that would happen back in the 1990s.
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Reply #5 on: September 17, 2012, 09:47:08 AM

X-Men's sales have been in the shitter comparatively for years now. Even though the books sucked monkey ass, Bendis's take on the Avengers has always sold better than X-Men. People got real tired of the mutants and their loads of continuity, as well as the constant pimping of needless X- and X-related books.

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Reply #6 on: September 17, 2012, 10:30:43 AM

X-Men's sales have been in the shitter comparatively for years now. Even though the books sucked monkey ass, Bendis's take on the Avengers has always sold better than X-Men. People got real tired of the mutants and their loads of continuity, as well as the constant pimping of needless X- and X-related books.
^^^
This.  Seriously.  It's like the X-Men had/have a gazillion books with various combinations of characters, plus all the cross-overs, maxhups, or whathaveyou that just proliferated all over the place.  That's probably one of the biggest reasons I stopped collecting (besides costs) was trying to keep track of the storylines across multiple books, most of which I didn't collect, just got to be a huge PITA.

Khaldun
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Reply #7 on: September 17, 2012, 05:54:50 PM

The problem here is that the Big Two are trying to use the movies not to clean house on the overstuffed continuity porn but as one more layer of continuity porn. e.g. take Hawkeye's new book, which isn't really "rebooted movie Hawkeye who has nothing to do with the old Hawkeye", it's "Hawkeye who is all the stuff he's ever been PLUS now he's suddenly also more like the movie guy".
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Reply #8 on: September 25, 2012, 07:00:55 PM

The problem here is that the Big Two are trying to use the movies not to clean house on the overstuffed continuity porn but as one more layer of continuity porn. e.g. take Hawkeye's new book, which isn't really "rebooted movie Hawkeye who has nothing to do with the old Hawkeye", it's "Hawkeye who is all the stuff he's ever been PLUS now he's suddenly also more like the movie guy".

Where as the intelligent thing to do would be a separate movie tie in spin off series from the main canon, neither DC nor Marvel figured that much out. The closest to that was the Teen Titans spinoff series based off the Teen Titans tv show.

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Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 07:42:34 PM

There were quite a few comics based on the TV series. IIRC, things like Batman Adventures were set in B:AS.

One of the problems here is that if the comics don't shift to include the movie version of the characters, they can end up losing new readers brought on by the movie, but if they do they can turn off existing readers. And simply releasing a new title to fit in with the movie can just create more confusion in an industry that is happy to shove the same character into 8 different-yet-simultaneous titles.

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Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 07:54:23 PM

There were quite a few comics based on the TV series. IIRC, things like Batman Adventures were set in B:AS.

One of the problems here is that if the comics don't shift to include the movie version of the characters, they can end up losing new readers brought on by the movie, but if they do they can turn off existing readers. And simply releasing a new title to fit in with the movie can just create more confusion in an industry that is happy to shove the same character into 8 different-yet-simultaneous titles.

So basically if comic books wasn't over saturated and beating the monkey to continuity porn other forms of media could have a positive dent on the comic verse.

If bored and want something to read click here -> http://memiorsofatroll.wordpress.com/
Khaldun
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Reply #11 on: September 25, 2012, 09:06:05 PM

There were quite a few comics based on the TV series. IIRC, things like Batman Adventures were set in B:AS.

One of the problems here is that if the comics don't shift to include the movie version of the characters, they can end up losing new readers brought on by the movie, but if they do they can turn off existing readers. And simply releasing a new title to fit in with the movie can just create more confusion in an industry that is happy to shove the same character into 8 different-yet-simultaneous titles.

See, I think this is what they're thinking. And as long as the comics aren't essentially totally like the movie version, they're going to lose readers. And even if they are, they probably will--the BTAS comics are fan favorites (imho among the best comic-book versions of Batman ever, independently of the series) but I don't think they ever sold that well. What I really dislike it using the movies as *one more layer* of larded-on continuity, less a reboot or separate version and more just a "Oh, look, Thor changed his outfit again and Loki is being drawn to look like the actor, but otherwise the stories are still using all sorts of continuity porn." This is the worst of all possible worlds and that's exactly where DC and Marvel have both decided to plant their flags. One of the consequences is that they're going to have very, very few new properties when they start to run out of shit to make movies out of. Dark Horse in this sense has always been much better at generating new content with cinematic potential, because they don't keep overlayering a new concept or series with six layers of accumulating narrative and visual junk.
Ubvman
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Reply #12 on: September 25, 2012, 11:24:40 PM

....
People got real tired of the mutants and their loads of continuity, as well as the constant pimping of needless X- and X-related books.
^^^
This.  Seriously.  It's like the X-Men had/have a gazillion books with various combinations of characters, plus all the cross-overs, maxhups, or whathaveyou that just proliferated all over the place.  That's probably one of the biggest reasons I stopped collecting (besides costs) was trying to keep track of the storylines across multiple books, most of which I didn't collect, just got to be a huge PITA.

The biggest PITA is alternate reality time traveling future past clone of clone continuity porn.
It's not enough you have to deal with the continuity of a single reality; you have to deal with the continuity of several dozen realities up and down several different timelines with several different variations of characters - all existing in the same single continuity of a comic. Off the top of my head: Cable, Bishop, Nocturne, Hope, Blink. A few dozen different variations of the daughters/sons of Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey and the rest of the X-Men. Can anyone explain Nocturne's history without causing their heads to explode? And now I hear they are bringing the 60's era Kirby X-Men into the present era continuity?

I thought the best thing to happen to DC was the first Crisis on Infinite Earths where continuity crud of several decades were wiped clean.* Marvel is long overdue for a clean sweep of all it's books.

* of course it all came back with a vengeance.

 
NowhereMan
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Reply #13 on: September 26, 2012, 06:16:21 AM

Hell the Ultimates universe was meant to be (pussy) version of that, giving the writers a fresh start without all the continuity baggage. Of course the result was one decent run (that provided the basis for the Avengers movie) followed up by writers rehashing every major story arc there has been and pulling all that continuity straight back in, only this time all told so quickly that it seems even more ridiculous. Followed with Loeb trying to reboot everything in a truly retarded way and just pissing fans off. It's definitely one aspect of comic writing where Manga has an advantage, a single creator writes a story with an actual end in sight. There have been some really great stories told with the established characters but they get drowned in all the dross and generally the editorial staff just don't seem to be up to the job of properly maintaining continuity across the whole stable of stuff they release (especially with massive cross-over events). They really should try and learn their limits and just scale back the continuity stuff, not everything needs to be happening in the same fucking universe and not every story told needs to be made canon and fit in.

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Lantyssa
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Reply #14 on: September 26, 2012, 08:10:20 AM

Can anyone explain Nocturne's history without causing their heads to explode? And now I hear they are bringing the 60's era Kirby X-Men into the present era continuity?
If it's just her history, it's fairly mundane compared to many Marvel characters.  If it's to impart detailed understanding of the events tied to all that, then no.  And it was practically boring once she was slotted into the second Excalibur series.

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Reply #15 on: September 26, 2012, 08:29:33 AM

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Reply #16 on: September 26, 2012, 09:23:43 AM

They really should try and learn their limits and just scale back the continuity stuff, not everything needs to be happening in the same fucking universe and not every story told needs to be made canon and fit in.

There's a loud and vocal group who think differently.

Back when only kids read comics, continuity didn't matter because the audience didn't stick around. Now adult comic readers want a coherent universe that doesn't go over its own path too much.

But the truth is that comic books as comic books have lost a lot of influence. Movies are doing them better than they do themselves, so are cartoons, so the question is what they actually offer as a medium ny more that makes them stand out as anything but a testbed for a new movie character.

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Reply #17 on: September 26, 2012, 10:06:07 AM

Monthly comics are creatively stifling. The serial format itself often leads to crazy stupid narrative foibles, as both TV series and comics can attest. Manga has a much better grasp on the idea of a story with a definitive end in sight. I'm not sure why American comics don't just do regular, 5-year reboots of their continuity porn with new creators. The whole coherent crossover friendly universe really drags down the stories a lot, even though I enjoy those every once in a while. But ever since Crisis on Infinite Earths and the first Secret Wars, the profitability of those events has meant we have to have a new one every year. About 1 in 5 is decent. For every 52, there's a fucking Legends, for every Secret Wars, there's a Civil War.

Khaldun
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Reply #18 on: September 26, 2012, 06:31:01 PM

Monthly comics are at this point a gesture of kindness to comics stores. If I owned a comics store, I'd be converting it to a general-service geek store like Forbidden Planet and moving the monthly 'new comics' shelving to a small area of my floor space, while stocking up on books and trade publications of comics, as well as physical memorabilia and fun geek stuff. Pretty soon now I think the big two are going to try to move virtually all of their properties into longer-form, decompressed storytelling. That might help a little with the continuity porn as Haemish suggests.
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Reply #19 on: September 26, 2012, 06:53:14 PM

Can't bring myself to buy an online comic.  I gotta have it in my hands and 'collect' it.  I actually do break my old comics out and read them from time to time.  But comics are a poor entertainment/value ratio. 

It would be great to have a geek store like that, we had an AMAZING game store, but those niche stores are the first to go in a bad economy. 
My local comic book store still survives.  I first went in there back in 1986.  He gets first crack at any of my comic book purchases.





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Reply #20 on: September 27, 2012, 03:51:38 AM

They really should try and learn their limits and just scale back the continuity stuff, not everything needs to be happening in the same fucking universe and not every story told needs to be made canon and fit in.

There's a loud and vocal group who think differently.

Back when only kids read comics, continuity didn't matter because the audience didn't stick around. Now adult comic readers want a coherent universe that doesn't go over its own path too much.

I can understand that point and I'm not against having continuity per se, something like the 5 year reboot cycle of stories would work well. The problem is that the editorial boards on both of the big 2 have demonstrated pretty clearly they're not quite up to the challenge of keeping continuity straight throughout their whole universe, especially when trying to do massive cross-overs that affect almost every title they're putting out. I'm not trying to argue that the editorial staff or incompetent, that's a huge fucking task to keep that many on-going stories straight and ensure the writing teams on titles with guest stars are matching their writing of a character to how they are in the general continuity. Stuff is inevitably going to get missed but considering how often it occurs or writing teams get shafted because their story arc isn't considered as important as Secret Cross Overs on Infinite Titles, you'd think they'd learn their limits.

The Ultimates was a nice run and good book, I'd really like it if Marvel had actually taken that as a starting point for running bigger stand-alones along with the monthlies. 2000 AD/Jump style collections would work better as well in terms of being able to give better value for money. I know comics over here just aren't a particularly worthwhile thing for me in the UK, they're about 5 each (just a little less than a paperback novel) and considering the number of titles you sometimes need to follow in order to keep up with storylines and how much entertainment a single comic provides, well I don't want to be spending 40-50 a month when I could get far more entertainment out of spending that on books or  a Steam sale.

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Reply #21 on: September 27, 2012, 06:25:33 AM

Monthly comics are creatively stifling. The serial format itself often leads to crazy stupid narrative foibles, as both TV series and comics can attest. Manga has a much better grasp on the idea of a story with a definitive end in sight. I'm not sure why American comics don't just do regular, 5-year reboots of their continuity porn with new creators. The whole coherent crossover friendly universe really drags down the stories a lot, even though I enjoy those every once in a while. But ever since Crisis on Infinite Earths and the first Secret Wars, the profitability of those events has meant we have to have a new one every year. About 1 in 5 is decent. For every 52, there's a fucking Legends, for every Secret Wars, there's a Civil War.

Manga artist have a few advantages over DC and Marvel.

Manga artist aren't forced to work on characters 20+ years old.

Manga artist are tasked with the job of creating new characters, who they themselves own.

Manga artist don't sell characters they sell stories (the ones that do attempt to sail characters are usually 200+ chapters long and often poorly written pieces of garbage... go figure)

DC and Marvel are in the business of selling characters, not stories. Non super hero comics not aligned to the DC and Marvel universe generally don't have this problem. We know that the Walking Dead will end, or any other monthly graphic novel. If DC and Marvel revolved around writers the smart thing to do is give each writer a crack at a character or team, let them have a run, and then reboot the franchise for a new writer who can start at any point in said super hero or super hero mash ups career they please with the cavet that the writer fills out the missing pieces on his own. Much the same way animated series work. Xmen Evolution has nothing to do with the 90s Xmen and does ample job filling in its own blanks. If a writer wants to do a sequel of someone else s work, the writer needs permission from said writer not the studio. Comics kinda sorta work that way "now" but not really. I mean you have "runs" but people can cherry pick from cannon appropriate one-offs with impunity, which does nothing to help the "coherent" story that is kinda needed for someone coming in new.

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Khaldun
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Reply #22 on: September 27, 2012, 07:53:50 AM

Continuity is great when it helps a character retain a distinctive feel or concept. It's great when it suggests story elements that should define a character's adventures.

So, for example: it is great to have a "continuity" of Batman's origins, of Captain America's WW2 adventures, of Superman's issues with kryptonite. You want some stability and consistency in how a character and his/her world is imagined, you don't want Batman to be mowing down criminals with an Uzi one day and then be controlling men's minds with psychic powers the next.

But the movie-comic relationship should if nothing else demonstrate to the Big Two how cramped and overconceptualized their story spaces have become. But look at DC--they went to the trouble of ripping up continuity and immediately tried to recreate that same cramped, overconceptualized sense within a year or two, so that the main question in a lot of the new books is drifting towards "what kind of storytelling are they doing in this book or that book?" but "Hey, has Wonder Woman ever fought Dr. Psycho in this continuity?"  Or now they're providing origins and backstory for characters who manifestly don't need it--the new Justice League Dark #0 gives John Constantine, of all characters, a very blandly 'superheroic' origin rather than the complex, multileveled storyteling that 10+ years of Vertigo publishing have allowed about his history and growth as a person.
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Reply #23 on: September 27, 2012, 02:06:46 PM

Monthly comics are creatively stifling. The serial format itself often leads to crazy stupid narrative foibles, as both TV series and comics can attest. Manga has a much better grasp on the idea of a story with a definitive end in sight. I'm not sure why American comics don't just do regular, 5-year reboots of their continuity porn with new creators. The whole coherent crossover friendly universe really drags down the stories a lot, even though I enjoy those every once in a while. But ever since Crisis on Infinite Earths and the first Secret Wars, the profitability of those events has meant we have to have a new one every year. About 1 in 5 is decent. For every 52, there's a fucking Legends, for every Secret Wars, there's a Civil War.

Manga artist have a few advantages over DC and Marvel.

Manga artist aren't forced to work on characters 20+ years old.

Manga artist are tasked with the job of creating new characters, who they themselves own.

Manga artist don't sell characters they sell stories (the ones that do attempt to sail characters are usually 200+ chapters long and often poorly written pieces of garbage... go figure)

DC and Marvel are in the business of selling characters, not stories. Non super hero comics not aligned to the DC and Marvel universe generally don't have this problem. We know that the Walking Dead will end, or any other monthly graphic novel. If DC and Marvel revolved around writers the smart thing to do is give each writer a crack at a character or team, let them have a run, and then reboot the franchise for a new writer who can start at any point in said super hero or super hero mash ups career they please with the cavet that the writer fills out the missing pieces on his own. Much the same way animated series work. Xmen Evolution has nothing to do with the 90s Xmen and does ample job filling in its own blanks. If a writer wants to do a sequel of someone else s work, the writer needs permission from said writer not the studio. Comics kinda sorta work that way "now" but not really. I mean you have "runs" but people can cherry pick from cannon appropriate one-offs with impunity, which does nothing to help the "coherent" story that is kinda needed for someone coming in new.
Ehhh, other than being art on paper media Manga aren't too comparable in their demographic targeting, history, or how they're serialized. Apples and Oranges.

If there's any advantage to following Manga, it's that when one ends it's usually fucking done. Manga rarely get continued for seemingly forever, and those that do or get multiple sequels are usually amazingly profitable standouts.

...well that and all Manga aren't shoehorned into one fucking continuing universe that everyone has to try and keep straight.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 02:08:58 PM by Fabricated »

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Reply #24 on: September 27, 2012, 02:47:38 PM

If there's any advantage to following Manga, it's that when one ends it's usually fucking done. Manga rarely get continued for seemingly forever, and those that do or get multiple sequels are usually amazingly profitable standouts.

...well that and all Manga aren't shoehorned into one fucking continuing universe that everyone has to try and keep straight.

This is the biggest difference (besides creator control) between manga and comics.  Very, very rarely is a manga series ever continued if the original artist dies or quits, but it's done all the time in comics.  And like Fabricated said - comics try to shoehorn all series into one continuity/universe.  Many manga generally all exist in some flavor of alternate universe that makes no attempt to be one continuity (unless an artist is deliberately writing multiple series in the same universe).   

Artist-owned versus company-owned, which is why independents comics tend to not worry about continuity as much as the Marvel/DC series tend to.

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Reply #25 on: September 27, 2012, 10:24:28 PM

Well, the way mangas are published/serialized/owned/marketed leads to a whole different set of problems.

Speaking about the actual topic this thread is about; manga (and sub-sequentially anime) don't really get anything from movies since they're closely tied to their medium and well...they end! Cool shit like Harley Quinn or the better Mr. Freeze design or Mark Hamill's take on the Joker or Heath Ledger's Joker or Robery Downy Jr's Iron Man etc etc doesn't really happen with manga precisely because the series and characters' stories end.

If you make a focused story with its own continuity that doesn't touch anything else, explains everything to the reader over the course of the story, and then end with everything nicely wrapped up with a bow you get a great series that anyone can sit down and get into... but you're not going to get some crazy reboot of the character and new supporting cast members or new and possibly more interesting stories either in print or in movie form then.

...also when you fuck up making a stand-alone American comic series you get stupid shit like Crossed.

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Reply #26 on: October 12, 2012, 08:49:22 AM


Oh, I remember Madeline Pryor. Back when I was reading, Cyclops was a douche to her and ran off to get with retcon-resurrected Jean Grey/Phoenix around the time of... X-Factor? Good to see that they made her an evil succubus/demon with underboob.  swamp poop

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Reply #27 on: October 12, 2012, 10:04:06 AM

That was back in the 80s, that's not even recent stupidy.
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Reply #28 on: October 12, 2012, 01:37:56 PM

Madeline Pryor gets screwed over in every incarnation and resurrection she's involved in.  It may suck to be an X-man, but it really sucks to be a clone of one.

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Reply #29 on: December 19, 2012, 03:40:01 AM

Yeah, back in the 80s she hadn't been retconned into a clone yet. She was just a woman who happened to be a redhead...

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Reply #30 on: December 19, 2012, 12:45:51 PM

Pretty sure she's been a clone since Inferno, which was 89, since the very tail end of that run involved Mr Sinister, and starting the whole ball of retardation that was the Summers children crap.

edit:  yeah, it's in the wikipedia entry, why do I hurt my own brain and try to remember things like this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madelyne_Pryor

"It was then attempted to address these problems through a retcon, in the 1989 Inferno crossover, where Madelyne was not only revealed to be a clone of Jean Grey, created by Mr. Sinister to produce a child with Scott Summers, but corrupted by her anger and demonic influence into the Goblin Queen."
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 12:47:23 PM by Ard »
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Reply #31 on: December 19, 2012, 04:06:04 PM

That whole Mr. Sinister/Apocalypse/Stryfe triumverate of villains was goddamn clownshoes. Apocalypse even looks like a blackface clown depending on who drew him. Hated all three of them.

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Reply #32 on: December 19, 2012, 07:04:15 PM

That whole Mr. Sinister/Apocalypse/Stryfe triumverate of villains was goddamn clownshoes. Apocalypse even looks like a blackface clown depending on who drew him. Hated all three of them.

Apocalypse was interesting for the first time ever in Remender's recently concluded X-Force series, which was dark and imaginative and really well-told throughout.
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